Living Lite

My Favorite Holiday Recipe

December 18, 2012

The simple pleasures in life always bring me the most joy. I especially love the holidays because it's a time of year I get to spend precious moments with my family and friends. One of my favorite traditions is an annual "girls get-together" with 3 of my favorite girlfriends. We feast on the most fabulous "girl" food, share stories about our lives, and exchange thoughtfully chosen gifts. I'm always asked to bring the "salad," which is really so  much more. This "salad" is a feast for the senses: salty, sweet, tart, crunchy - every texture, flavor and color imaginable. Developed by Persian Chef - and Georgetowner - Najmieh Batmanglij, it is a holiday home-run.


Winter Salad of Orange and Pomegranate
By Najmieh Batmanglij in “Cooking With Les Dames d’Escoffier

4 servings


1 Cup (about 1 large pomegranate) pomegranate seeds
4 to 6 Large Naval Oranges, peeled and cut into section, membrane removed
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Candied Orange Peel (store-bought or home-made)
½ Cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed Lime Juice
1 tsp Orange Blossom Water
8 ounces Sheep’s milk cheese, such as Pecorino Romano OR aged Goat Cheese, cut into shavings with a potato peeler (I  use only 2 ounces)
1/3 Cup Chopped pistachios
Pistachio Oil or light-bodied Extra-Virgin Olive Oil


In a bowl, combine the pomegranate seeds, orange segments, candied orange peel, orange juice, lime juice and orange blossom water. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. To serve, distribute the fruit mixture among 4 plates. Alongside the fruit, place a portion of cheese and top with the chopped pistachios and a light drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.

Click here to share your thoughts.

Georgetown Village Celebrates One Year Anniversary

December 15, 2012

Georgetown Village, one of the growing aging-in-place communities in the nation, celebrated its one-year anniversary Thursday evening. The reception, attended by about 100 members and volunteers, started with a lavish buffet in St John’s Episcopal’s Blake Hall, its headquarters.

Georgetown Village December 13 Reception (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Georgetown Village December 13 Reception

The event continued with an awards ceremony recognizing the contributions of its volunteers, and ended with a raffle featuring gifts from its many contributors, including Aveda, Keith Lipert Gallery, Anthony’s Tuxedo, Rodman’s Drug, and Appalachian Spring.

Nancy and David Roll with Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Nancy and David Roll with Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties

Georgetown Village, founded by Georgetowner Sharon Lockwood, a professor of economics and community activist, was incorporated in 2010, but officially opened its doors providing services for members on December 6, 2011, with Executive Director, Lynn Golub-Rofrano.

Lynn Golub, Georgetown Village Executive Director (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Lynn Golub, Georgetown Village Executive Director

During the past year Georgetown Village fulfilled 345 service requests and 70 percent of its members joined in programs and activities, including happy hours, yoga, tai chi, book club, monthly museum trips, Potomac cruises, speakers bureau, with among other offerings, nutrition talks given by Yours Truly.

Katherine Tallmadge, Georgetown Village Nutrition Advisor with Mike Girardi, Girardi Wealth Management (Photo by: Georgetown Village Volunteer) Katherine Tallmadge, Georgetown Village Nutrition Advisor with Mike Girardi, Girardi Wealth Management

0ver 200 Georgetowners are now members. Services include transportation, household assistance and organizing, yard work, I.T. assistance, even grocery shopping.  Georgetown Village’s mission is providing services and programs so that residents can live better and longer in their own homes. Servicing Georgetown, Burleith and nearby neighborhoods.

Click here to share your thoughts.

Katherine's Holiday Market Recipe: Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean

November 13, 2012

My very luscious version of a "flan," a custard dessert, is lighter and simpler than most, and highlights one of the most nutritious seasonal foods - the sweet potato, and a favorite flavor: Vanilla. The vanilla's quality is essential to the flavor, so I buy special plump, juicy California vanilla beans - the kind top chefs use - from Cook's.** Sprinkle the flan with toasted pecans for a bit of crunch. Make in six or eight “personal” soufflé dishes, or in one large dish. Perfect as a holiday dessert!

Today is the 12th "Katherine's Market Recipe," in The Georgetown Dish, all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you'll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You're also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here's how...

For my "Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean," I recommend you buy your sweet potato at the Glover Park - Burleith Farmers Market on Saturday, or Dupont Circle's Fresh Farm Market (open year-round) on Sunday. 

**Cook's Vanilla

And don't forget the Cook's Vanilla for your Flan and other holiday baking. I first discovered this special vanilla in Georgetown's Griffin Market (now closed). It peaked my interest because former Washington Post food reporter (and longtime Georgetown resident), Walter Nicholls, endorsed it and provided it to Griffin. Apparently, Walter has teamed up with Paso Robles, California's Cook Flavoring Company, a family-owned business. "They personally monitor the cultivation and harvest of its vanilla beans in a way that few can match and no one can exceed, extracting the flavor by the same slow, cold extraction method the family has been using for almost a century," said Walter.  The best pastry chefs in town seem to use it: Baked & Wired, Dolcezza, Black Salt, CoCo Sala, CityZen, the Hay Adams hotel and all of Jose Andres restaurants, to name a few. Beans and extract are available locally at Rodman’s on Wisconsin Avenue.

Cook's Vanilla Extract and Beans (Photo by: Carolyn Lochhead) Cook's Vanilla Extract and Beans


Katherine's Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean
Author, “Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations” (LifeLine Press, 2011)

Serves 6 – 8

Unsalted butter or butter spray for the ramekins*
2 Cups 1% Lowfat Milk
2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
½ Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise
¾ pound Sweet Potato (1 large)
2 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1Tablespoon Warm Molasses (Optional)
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Chopped, Toasted Pecans (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sweet potato on the oven rack and let cook for about 45 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Use long tongs to pull out of the oven. When warm to the touch, remove the peel. Mash the potato flesh and measure out ¾ cup.

Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter or spray the insides of 6 or 8 ½-cup ramekins* or a 6-cup glass Pyrex bowl or soufflé dish.

In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, and vanilla bean slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Pull out the vanilla bean and scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk mixture. Return the pod to the pot and let sit for 15 minutes to let flavors blend.

Meanwhile, puree the 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk with the mashed sweet potato (I use a Cuisinart Smart Stick immersion hand blender). Add the sweet potato mixture to the warm milk mixture and puree until well blended – most easily done (and less messy) with an immersion hand blender. For a smooth custard, try not to create too many bubbles.

Pour the liquid into six or eight ramekins, or into the 6-cup soufflé dish. Set the soufflé dish(es) into a large baking pan and add boiling water until it is halfway up the sides of the soufflé dish(es). Place in the center of the oven and bake until slightly wobbly in the middle – about 40 to 45 minutes for the individual ramekins or 1 hour if you’re using the larger soufflé dish.

To serve: Leave the custards in the water bath until they are not too hot to handle or until ready to serve. Slide a knife around the inside edge of the individual dishes and turn them onto serving plates. Or scoop out 6 or 8 servings from the large soufflé dish. Over each serving, drizzle the warm molasses and sprinkle chopped, toasted pecans.

*A “ramekin” is an oven-proof ceramic or glass serving dish, usually round, but sometimes in novelty shapes, ie, hearts or ovals.

The entire recipe = 1,000 calories (1,242 calories with molasses and pecans). Divided into 6 servings = 167 calories per serving (207 with molasses and pecans). Eight servings = 125 calories per serving (155 with molasses and pecans).

Katherine’s “Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean” was adapted from award-winning cookbook author, Deborah Madison’s “Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets.”

Sweet Potatoes, considered one of the "Super Foods," are loaded with Beta-Carotene, the orange pigment which is a potent anti-oxidant. It is important for your immune system, your skin, your vision, bones, reproduction, and may reduce cancer risk. But sweet potatoes provide so much more; they're also high in fiber, vitamins C, E, the B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and iron. Sweet potatoes' origins date back thousands of years in Peru, became a favorite of Christopher Columbus once he landed in America, and grow particularly well in the American South, where they have become a staple.

Click here to share your thoughts.